☕️ Vietnam - population of 97 million people, but with only 2,362 Covid-19 cases and 35 deaths + no lockdowns

What happens if you don't accept Whatsapp updated privacy policy? Village Grocer up for sale for RM1 billion. Global debt pile at USD281 trillion, 3.5x global GDP - who's going to foot the bill?

Max Know more, learn more. Be smarter in 3 minutes.

The underlined words are links! Click on them to the news article.



USD115 billion - Stripe, the payment processing startup’s valuation on the secondary market. It’s estimated Adyen, Stripe and Paypal controls 10% of the global payment processing volume.

20.5 million years have been “lost” due to Covid-19 when researchers compared the ages of people when they died of COVID-19 to their average life expectancy.

550 million - monthly active users of the ‘search’ function in Douyin, Tiktok’s China twin. Users are using Douyin not just for viewing videos but also searching for informaiton. This is as many users Baidu’s 544 million monthly active users.



  1. The first batch of Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer has arrived yesterday and will be sent to 16 storage centres nationwide. The National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme will kick start two days ahead of schedule on the 24th of February 2021 with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Health DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham being the first few recipients.

  2. PE Firm Navis Capital Partners is looking to offload the premium supermarket chains — Village Grocer and Ben’s Independent Grocer for approximately RM1 billion.

  3. Local independent news portal Malaysiakini was fined RM500,000 by the Federal Court for contempt of court in relation to the news portal's readers' comments. The public were quick to help after Malaysiakini asked the public for donation to raise the RM500,000 as the campaign concluded by yesterday morning.

  4. Seven (7) Johor JPJ Officers were arrested over RM3.1 million losses after the suspects were alleged to have manipulated the MySikap system on licence renewals. All seven officers were manning the state’s JPJ counters.

  5. Top Glove Corp Bhd said it has resolved overcrowding at staff dormitories issue that led to major Covid-19 outbreak among foreign workers of the company. Top Glove said it had spent RM90 million in accommodation and plans to spend an additional RM195 million over the medium term for more facilities and accommodation.

  6. MyDigital Initiative was announced by the Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin last Friday, which will comprise three phases to be completed by 2030. Below are the three focus areas:-

    • RM1.65 billion budget to strengthen connectivity to the international submarine cable network by 2023.

    • RM15 billion budget to roll out 5G nationwide over a period of 10 years.

    • Cloud companies to invest between RM12 billion to RM15 billion in the economy.

    The digital economy is expected to create 500,000 jobs and contribute to 22.6% of the country’s GDP by 2025.


  1. Whilst the Hokkiens ‘pai ti kong’ on Friday night, Bitcoin broke past USD1 trillion in market cap, making it more valuable than Tencent, Tesla, Facebook and Alibaba.

    Meanwhile, the CIO of Barclays Wealth & Investments calls Bitcoin ‘increasingly cultist’ and a ‘flightless bird’ when interest rate rises. As the debt pile increases exponentially, what incentives are there for the government to increase interest rate, to only burden their own repayment capacity? We will be in a low interest rate environment for at least the coming 1-2 years. 

  2. By the end of 2020, governments, companies and households have took on USD24,000,000,000,000 (24 trillion) in debt last year to counter the pandemic’s economic effects, bringing total global debt to an all-time high of USD281 trillion - more than 355% of global GDP. That is USD36,025 of debt for every individual in this world (Malaysia’s annual minimum wage: USD3,564. It takes 10.1 years to pay off the debt, assuming debt doesn’t grow)

    Governments, especially, are expected to raise USD10 trillion in debt to finance its budget deficit, potentially pushing this group’s debt more than USD92 trillion by end-2021.

    We were taught not to binge on debt, to build surplus doing good times so we can use this surplus during bad times. However, governments seem to lack financial education. Many countries ran budget deficits even during booming times, and came a crisis, they had to borrow even more or print more money. The money in your bank is getting eaten away. 

  3. Scientists believe that an extinct human species, Neanderthals, that got wiped out 40,000 years ago contains genetic code that reduces the risk of getting severe Covid-19 by 22%. The same genetic code, known as ‘chromosome 12’ has been shown to also protect against West Nile, hepatitis C and SARS. Neanderthals DNA is believed to make up 1-2% of the genomes of many people of European and Asian descent. 

    Neanderthals were wiped out as Earth’s magnetic pole flipped, causing a climate crisis.

  4. Whatsapp updated privacy policy will go to effect come May 15. This is what happens if you don’t accept it: 

    “for a short time, these users will be able to receive calls and notifications, but will not be able to read or send messages from the app”

  5. Vietnam is ranked second in its successful response of handling the coronavirus pandemic despites its large population and had gone through the pandemic without any nationwide lockdowns. Its success comes down to 3 things: contract tracing, strategic testing and clear messaging (the US lacks all of them). 

    With a population of 97 million, it has reported 2,362 confirmed cases and 35 deaths only. As compared to countries with similar population size, Egypt (102 million) has recorded more than 176,000 (cases and Democratic Republic of Congo has recorded more than 24,000 cases for a population of 89 million.

Hope you enjoy reading our newsletter! Share this newsletter to your friends if it made you smarter today!